Sand Flies!! What are they? I knew nothing about them before I entered Cambodia. Now and unfortunately after getting bitten by them, I seem to know quite a bit about them. I think it would be better if other tourists become aware of them before they head to the beaches of Cambodia.
The sand flies are found on the pristine and more secluded beaches of Cambodia and can be seen in huge numbers at the Otres Beach in Sihanoukville and most of the beaches on Koh Rong and Koh Kong. These sand flies are very small white creatures that suck blood from us just like a mosquito and the beauty is that no one notices them when they bite you. You become aware of the bites when you wake up to a bad itch the next morning. The best way to not get bitten is by spraying yourself liberally (head to toe) with the highest DEET insect repellant. In most of the cases this works.
If you do get bitten, don’t scratch for whatever reason. It will only infect the wounds. The sand flies of Cambodia carry a lot of toxins and release it into our body while biting. While for many people, the sand fly bites remain as itchy sores, for some unlucky ones like me, the body develops a reaction to it and the wound swells and becomes red. If you have this, then you need to visit a doctor, get yourself inspected. In all probability, the doctor will clean your wounds, give you a dose of anti-histamines, a course of antibiotics and an ointment to dry your wounds quickly.
The sand fly bites stay longer than a mosquito bite. If you are lucky, it will stay only for a week. If not, 10 to 15 days. According to wikipedia, only the female sand flies bite you as they need our blood to synthesize their eggs.
Keep in mind that the beaches of Koh Rong and Koh Kong have some of the best and cleanest beaches in the world. Hence, the sand fly should not stop you from going there. You should just stay prepared. Spray yourself nicely with insect repellant and enjoy the tropical sun on these beautiful islands of Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samolem and Koh Kong.